QUALITY NEEDED: Back-up divers not progressing fast enough
NATIONAL diving coach Yang Zhuliang has warned that the sport could be heading for a bleak future if nothing is done to develop younger divers.
Zhuliang sounded the warning when commenting on Malaysia's medal hopes in the World Junior Championships, scheduled for Oct 8-13, in Adelaide, Australia.
Zhuliang said those bound for the event are not making progress unlike their seniors due to lack of exposure.
"They are not ready to win medals. Some of them are even finding it a challenge to execute slightly tougher routines," said Zhuliang. "I need a bigger pool of quality divers. Our resources are limited and we will be in trouble if the younger divers fail to progress."
But their fortunes could change after the National Sports Council (NSC) approved a three-week training stint in Guangdong, China.
In Adelaide, Malaysia will be making a bid to end a six-year medal. Chew Yiwei, double gold medallists in the springboard at the Malaysia Games in Kuantan, leads the three-member boys' squad also comprising Mohd Danial and Mohd Nazreen, while Indonesia Sea Games silver medallist Kam Ling Kar, Jasmine Lai, Loh Zhiayi and Adeline Chin make up the girls team.
Zhuliang hopes something good would come from the training stint in China.
"Those who are expected to fight for medals in Adelaide are all starting on total difficulties of 3.0 and above. Brittany Broben, who won silver ahead of Pandelela in London, is among the top divers in this event.
"Our divers still lack consistency but I hope to see some improvement after the China stint. It will be good if we spring a surprise at this event," said Zhuliang.
Although most of the seniors will still be around to attempt qualification for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Zhuliang hopes others will step up by then.
The world junior championships for 1m and 3m springboard and 10m platform are divided into two categories -- Group A (16-18) and Group B (14-15).
The last time Malaysia won medals was in Kuala Lumpur in 2006 through Elizabeth Jimie's gold medal in the girls' Group B 3m springboard and Bryan Nickson Lomas' bronze effort in the Group A boys' platform.